Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bolivia's deterioration: A first-hand account

This arrived in your humble scribe's mailbox this morning, in its original French version and in the English translation you see before you. The author of the letter has given specific instructions to publish the words as widely as possible and so your author is pleased to do just that.

That crimes are committed in any country is a sad but clear reality. But if crimes are left uninvestigated by the country's police forces and, even worse, the victims are treated with total disrespect, the result is something far more dangerous for the future. IKN leaves you with the words of long-resident academic in Bolivia, Mme Demélas.

Dear friends and colleagues,
Last Tuesday at 9 o'clock in the evening, my eldest daughter Bertille was attacked by three men, raped and beaten up. The police thereupon kept her in their station from 10 o'clock  till 4 in the morning, without giving her the slightest attention nor informing her family or the consular services.

Like any mother whose children have been treated like this in a town where delinquency is constantly growing, such behaviour raises doubts as to whether any investigation will be carried out, or the guilty men ever be punished.

Therefore, since strikes and protest marches are not part of my culture, and considering that I have worked for 38 years to provide Bolivia with the results of my research in the service of her past, I have resolved not to write a line, not to give another course nor a single lecture in the service of this country until this crime has been punished.

I trust to those among you who manage Spanish as well as French the care of translating this announcement, and I thank them in advance.

Marie-Danielle Demélas
Honorary Member of the Bolivian Academy History
Chevalier e la légion d'honneur
Chers amis et collègues,
Mardi dernier à 9h du soir, ma fille aînée, Bertille, a été attaquée par trois hommes, violée et passée à tabac. La police l'a ensuite gardée dans ses locaux de 10h à 4h du matin, sans lui donner le moindre soin ni aviser sa famille et les services consulaires. 

Comme toutes les mères dont les enfants sont ainsi traités dans une ville où la délinquance ne cesse de croître, un tel comportement peut faire douter qu'une enquête soit menée, et que les coupables soient un jour châtiés.

Aussi, comme la grève de la faim ni la "marcha" ne font partie de ma culture, et rappelant que depuis 38 ans j'ai travaillé à offrir à la Bolivie le résultat de mes recherches au service de son passé, j'ai résolu de ne plus écrire une ligne, ne plus donner un cours ni une conférence au service de ce pays tant que n'aura pas pris fin l'impunité du crime.

Je confie à ceux d'entre vous qui manient aussi bien l'espagnol que le français le soin de traduire cette annonce et les en remercie par avance.

Marie-Danielle Demélas
Membre honoraire de l'académia de la historia de Bolivia
Chevalier de la légion d'honneur